Carson: Nothing ‘white supremacist’ about Bannon

Carson: Nothing ‘white supremacist’ about Bannon
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Ben Carson denies in an interview published Tuesday that President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE's incoming White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon has done anything supporting white supremacy.

"I've known him. I’ve never seen any of the negative things that people talk about," Carson said in an interview with The Daily Beast.

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“I’ve been to his home,” Carson continued. "He’s a very gracious host. I have found nothing hateful or white supremacist in anything that he’s ever done.”

Carson argued critics cannot fault Trump for self-described white nationalists backing the Republican.

“I don’t think the president-elect can be held responsible for who supports him,” he said. "I didn’t see anybody blaming President Obama when the Black Panthers were doing things.

"I just don’t understand why we have to take anybody who supports someone and make them try to defend that person.”

Trump in an interview with New York Times journalists on Tuesday condemned a recent meeting of white nationalists supporting him. 

Trump said he didn't want to "energize" the so-called alt-right movement, denouncing the Washington, D.C., conference over the weekend where attendees hailed his victory with Nazi-era salutes.

“I disavow and condemn them,” Trump said.

Trump also defended Bannon, his campaign CEO announced earlier this month to a top White House position. Trump argued he would not employ a racist.

“If I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him,” he said. 

“I think it’s very hard on him,” Trump added of backlash against Bannon. "I think he’s having a hard time with it. Because it’s not him."

Bannon’s appointment has stoked controversy due to his tenure serving as chairman of Breitbart News, which is closely linked to the alt-right movement and has published a series of controversial headlines that critics have seized on.